Posts Tagged 'winter'

Tour de Land of the Epic Burrito

Thanks to circumstances outside of my own control and especially with no direct impact on my wallet (read: business trip), I happened to spend little over a week in The Land of the Epic Burrito (read: California) this February. I managed to squeeze a few rides over the weekends, too, and due to peer pressure I’m sharing some details with you here and now. I also like to rub it in your faces since you were freezing your collective ass here while I was getting some early season tan lines (you were asking for it, Micah!).

I rented a full-carbon[*] Specialized Tarmac equipped with compact Ultegra groupset from the good people at Menlo Velo Bicycles. Due to my work arrangements I couldn’t go for longer rides during the work week, so at least I was (ab)using it for commuting between Caltrain stations and the campus of my employer where I happened to be on that day, in various parts of the Bay Area. Saturdays were an entirely different matter, though.

[*] still not convinced I ever want to own a full-carbon bike, I find the plasticky feel and bulky shapes repulsive

 
Marin County

On Saturday morning I hopped on the first northbound Caltrain to San Francisco, got off at 22nd Street station, crawled over Portero Hill, bombed down to the Mission District where I met the nice guys of Mission Cycling at one of the iconic San Francisco cafés and off we pedaled across the city towards the Golden Gate.

Portero Hill: Twin Peaks Portero Hill: Downtown Skyline
   Portero Hill, 45% incline, are you fucking kidding me?!
 
We joined the rest of the group already waiting at a parking lot adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge and then headed out to Marin County, to be back in about 6 hours and 90 miles of riding down the valleys, up redwood forests and along the Pacific coast, all in a warm sunny weather.

Marin County: Nicasio - Point Reyes - Panoramic

 
Santa Cruz Mountains

The next Saturday I ventured alone towards the local benchmark climb up Old La Honda road, followed by winding narrow descent towards Pescadero, along the Pacific coast on Highway 1, and up the redwood forests in Tunitas Creek valley.

Stage rd., Pacific Stage rd.
   Picturesque Stage road between Pescadero and San Gregorio
 
Highway 1, Pacific coast Highway 1, beach
   Stunning views from Highway 1, Pacific coast
 
Santa Cruz Moutains: Old La Honda - Pescadero - Tunitas Creek
 
Pacific coast In conclusion, California definitely is one of the cycling paradises. The lack of weather (yes, it rains from time to time and there might be mist and fog, boo), combined with a hilly coastline is certainly inviting. There are some things which are kind of annoying, too, e.g., the stop signs on most intersections. Especially annoying when you have clipless pedals and road shoes. No yielding to the right, no main streets. Kind of reminds me of watching American football, move ten yards and everything grinds to a halt. And another ten yards. Stop. And another. Stop.

In any case, I already want to go back and ride some more. 🙂

 

p.s., speaking of epic burritos, if you ever happen to be in the Bay Area, make sure you stop by at La Costeña Custom Burritos in Mountain View, supposedly the home of the most epic of all the epic burritos in the Silicon Valley. Hands down the best burrito I’ve ever had.

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Bastogne nad Vltavou

It’s been said many time, many ways, but still:

 

Makes me giggle.

Salo noted the fact that it is face-freezing cold, and I’d just like to take a few pixels to point out that I agree. What he OUGHT to do about it is to post some pictures of his luxurious tour de Marin County here so we can all dream up novel curses to share with him next time we see him. Not to worry, though, spring is on the way… Right? I’ve actually seen more and more commuters out these days despite the cold. Even the messenger with the cargo bike is back on the streets. It gets to feeling as though Prague is warming to cyclists, until I get home and find the “no bicycles” sign the fat bastard owner installed in the lift especially for me.

One little thing that I do in cold like this is to loosen each spoke a quarter turn, then draw it back in again. It lets me know which ones are stressed and where to expect problems.  That and keeping the chain clean. I’m not sure if it helps anything, but it makes me feel better 🙂

Cycling = Golf 2.0?

I’ve had a sneaking suspicion for some time now that cycling, specifically that lycra-clad, carbon fibered corner of the sporting garage, is steadily becoming the new golf. It starts slow, with the Bike Snob’s oft-mentioned, recondite Serotta/Dentist symbiosis, working its way through the professions until love of the sport snowballs to the point where, one day, we can all enjoy the cliche cycling to work will have become. Seriously, it’ll be a happy day, once it’s all growed up. It’s the meantime that’s the scary bit. We’re just one or two client service directors away from the critical adolescent mass of professional acceptance, and the video produced for the new bike line from Mario Cippolini speaks directly to the blandly-articulated desires of the wanky horde that is us. Mark my words. Next step: Caddyshack for bikes. Watch for it.

Witness the continental breakfast, the Tuscan wheat, the barely sublimated musical fratboy, straining at the bonds that keep him from performing the Helmet Dance… Things are gonna get weird – can’t wait for the damned snow to melt.

The Slovakia Experiment 2011

The Slovakia Experiment 2011

The winter massacre continues with its third incarnation on January 15, 2011. Last year was a pure white hell with 30cm of fresh snow, wind, sleet and freezing rain. So, man up, register and be at the Schönbrunn palace with your teammate on the Saturday morning with the rest of us!

Defeated :-(

This was the scene last night on my way home – around 8pm. Made it back no problem, but this morning was hairy. Wiped out twice on black ice and decided to bring the bike home and take the damned metro to work :-S

Can’t win em all, I guess, but I hope this crap melts soon. Fine in the mountains, but a mess in town.

Anyone have any shots from the CritMass last night?

Christmas CritMass

Hey everyone, hope this isn’t too late, but there’s going to be a critical mass ride tomorrow. It’s a bit early in the day for me, but might try to meet up if anyone can tweet the route… There’s also a party after the ride at Hala C.

Thursday, 17 December starting at 6 pm at Jiřího z Poděbrad


Blood on the tracks

It’s officially winter in Prague. Winter with a capital “S” for shitty, slippery snow 😉 Above is my artist’s representation of the snow my iphone couldn’t see… Just in time for my new office relocation, a convenient 7km longer ride from home. Anyone else still riding? Polo this weekend is still on, so don’t even try to sneak out of it!

There’s other news in the making – PFG has obtained a storage space/workshop in the Letna area. We’re just moving in, but the idea is to have sort of a communal workshop for polo stuff and bikes. Currently, there’s a killer tool set and a nice workbench ready to be moved in and set up. More to come soon on that, and there’ll for sure be a sklepwarming party someday soon.

Be safe, and keep riding – it’s just frozen water, after all.


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